Forget Afghanistan or Iraq—the United States's longest war has been against poverty. Since the days of Lyndon B. Johnson, the “war on poverty” has raged on. But as we look at the outskirts of our communities, we still see the poor. There are still Americans who cannot afford a safe home or food. With Obama’s new initiative to battle inequality, The Washington Post reports that Congressman Paul Ryan has some different ideas:
“There are nearly 100 programs at the federal level that are meant to help, but they have actually created a poverty trap,” Ryan said in an interview. “There is no coordination with these programs, and new ones are frequently being added without much consideration to how they affect other programs. We’ve got to fix the situation, and this report is a first step toward significant reform.”
The votes are in and, for those of us who opposed Ryan-Murray, it’s not pretty:
The House on Thursday approved a two-year budget deal that turns off $63 billion in sequester spending cuts, handing a major victory to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio.).
Large majorities in both parties backed the bill in a 332-94 vote.
Only 62 Republicans defected despite harsh criticism of the deal by conservative groups that said it did too little to cut spending.
Ross Kaminsky leads the lineup this morning with a thoughtful piece on Rep. Paul Ryan’s and Sen. Patty Murray’s budget deal. Allow me to voice my dissent.
Kaminsky asks in his headline “A bad deal compared to what?” The answer is: current levels of sequester spending. Here’s the Wall Street Journal with a distilled outline of the plan:
In the interest of achieving the simple goal of keeping the government funded, the two parties staked out a narrow slice of common ground—a set of fee increases and spending cuts in future years that allowed a modest increase in spending in the next two years. But neither party had to swallow hard to accept something it opposed; neither claimed any big policy trophies.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Republicans "have to be smart" in opposing President Obama, Wscionsin Rep. Paul Ryan said Saturday in a speech to the National Review Summit.
"If we play into his hands, we will betray the voters who supported us -- and the country we mean to serve," said Ryan, the House Budget Committee Chairman who was the Republican vice presidential candidate last year. "We can’t let that happen. We have to be smart. We have to show prudence."
Speaking to some 700 conservatives gathered at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, Ryan warned that Obama "will bait us. He’ll portray us as cruel and unyielding. ... The way he tells it, it’s the president -- and only the president -- who’s trying to fix our bridges, to feed our children, to care for seniors, to clean our water. ... But we can’t get rattled. We won’t play the villain in his morality plays. We have to stay united. We have to show that -- if given the chance -- we can govern. We have better ideas."
The expectations were set incredibly low for Joe Biden. As Ryan would put it to him during the debate, "Sometimes words don't come out of your mouth the right way," eliciting laughter from the gallery. As a man who wouldn't be taken seriously entering this debate, he couldn't possibly be more buffoonish. So why not go ballistic and interrupt Ryan at every turn?
The move paid off. The only times Ryan got to enjoy uninterrupted time to make his pitch to the American people were during his opening and closing statements. Every other moment was shared with Biden or the moderator, Martha Radditz.
Ryan's strength comes from his knowledge of the math and the numbers. He needed to establish with the American people that he was a competent, thoughtful aspiring vice presidential candidate who could work across the aisle. Just a month ago, he was being protrayed as a right-wing radical with ideas too crazy for independents. That's why his pitch was so focused on how he would focus on working with Democrats to reach a solution on the budget or on foreign policy, contrasting that to the experience of Obama's first term.